Posts Tagged ‘blue ridge dairy’

At Market: How to Fry Squash Blossoms

Monday, June 11th, 2012

This past weekend, the husband and tot hit up the new Westover Farmers Market in Arlington. It was near the end of the market so I didn’t have high hopes for too many goodies, but was pleasantly surprised when they brought home a basket of squash blossoms and sour cherries. Edible flowers are always fun to share with kids, but flowers that you stuff with cheese and fry? Talk about hitting the jackpot. The foodie tot had a lot of fun “helping” me prep them for frying. Of course, she was booted from the kitchen for the actual cooking.

foodie tot loves squash blossoms

Squash blossoms are best eaten the day you buy them. After your toddler holds up each one for its photo opp (or maybe that’s just mine…), gently pry open the petals, check for intruders,* and reach inside and pinch the base of the stamen to remove it. (*I’m no fan of insects on my supper, but this is a good time to mention to the kids that we buy organic foods that aren’t sprayed with bug-killing chemicals. You can’t blame a bug for being drawn to the same pretty, fragrant flowers that we are!)

how to fry squash blossoms

I mixed fresh Blue Ridge Dairy ricotta with a little nutmeg, salt and black pepper. You can use some finely chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or oregano, if you have them but I like to keep it simple. The batter is simply flour, milk and another pinch of salt. After gently spooning the filling into each flower, give the end a gentle twist to hold in the good stuff.

Frying them takes just a few minutes — then let them cool a little on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Be sure to eat while still warm!

fried ricotta squash blossoms

Recipe: Fried Squash Blossoms
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 12 squash blossoms
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • kosher salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

  1. Fill high-walled frying pan with 1/4-inch of oil. Heat over medium high heat (to 350 degrees if you have a thermometer).
  2. Pick over and remove stamens from blossoms. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, nutmeg, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  4. In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, milk and another pinch of salt until smooth.
  5. Holding blossom by the stem end, gently fill with a teaspoon full of ricotta mixture. Give the petal ends a gentle twist to hold in the filling. Repeat until all are filled.
  6. Quickly swirl the stuffed blossoms through the batter and gently transfer to pan. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown — about 3-5 minutes, total. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly before serving.

~

What’d the kids think? The boy took a bite, then paused to ask, “Did this use to be a plant?” The tot ate the middle section of hers. Have you ever eaten squash blossoms with your kids?

Aside from frying, you can also use squash blossoms in soup or my squash blossom succotash, or bake them for a healthier take. And if you’re in the Northeast, check out Narrangasett Creamery ricottas, reviewed over on Cheese and Champagne today.

{Meatless Monday} Spaghetti Caprese

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Eating meatless seems simpler in the summer, when steamy hot August days often leave me in the mood for little more than a salad for supper. The traditional caprese salad, comprised of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, is perfectly sufficient for dinner along with a few slices of a nice, crusty baguette. I was in the mood for something with slightly more substance, though, so I added pasta. You’ll want to use very ripe cherry tomatoes and real, fresh mozzarella — the liquid from the tomatoes and cheese combine to make a silky sauce for the spaghetti. I used Blue Ridge Dairy’s boccini mozzarella (small ball-shaped) from the Falls Church Farmers Market.

The sungold yellow cherry tomatoes and the basil for this meal came from our own kitchen garden — the two stars of our garden, I might add. While the sungold tomatoes have not made a tomato lover out of my son, he did voluntarily taste one … and offer to try them again another time. Small steps… he does enjoy picking them and bringing them in for us to eat, though!

Recipe: Spaghetti Caprese

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • about 4 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, preferably small balls (halved) or else cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Instructions: Prepare spaghetti according to package instructions; drain and set aside. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook until garlic softens and begins to appear translucent, being careful not to brown. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook several minutes, letting tomatoes give off their juices. Add basil, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Toss with the spaghetti noodles and let cool a couple minutes before adding the mozzarella. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!